How do domains work?

What is a domain?

 

Domain names are a friendly way of displaying, and referring to a devices Internet Protocol (IP) address.

 

All devices connected directly to the internet have an IP address. 

 

Most web pages can be called directly by using the IP address in the web browser directly, unless they use virtual hosts to define the specific web hosting area.

 

Without domain names, we would need access Google by using the IP address. This would be difficult to remember!

 

An example of one of Googles many IPs is 74.125.45.100.

 

Instead a site like Google, or even this one, use domain names to help translate to this IP address in a humanly recognisable way.

 

How do I set a domain up?

 

To setup a domain name can be quite confusing if you are unfamiliar with how it works.

 

Domain registration.

 

Since the internet has existed, organisations like Ausregistry, and ICANN have existed to regulate domain name registration. The organisations sell and manage the rights to domain names on a yearly or bi-yearly basis.

 

To start with, you must find a suitable domain registrant. For Australians I would recommend Webcity. They have great prices, and excellent hosting packages to compliment.

 

The pricing of registration varies from registrant to registrant, so it pays to shop around.

 

For two years of .com.au hosting, I would expect to pay no more then $40AUD Inc. Registration for .com is cheaper, and is done yearly. I would expect to pay no more then $15AUD Inc per year.

 

Domain hosting.

 

Once you have found and registered your domain name, you will be given the opportunity to assign name servers. It is recommended you have at least two name server addresses assigned to the domain name.

 

The hosting information for these two name servers should reside on two separate servers to minimize downtime in case of failure.

 

You can setup your own name servers, but for the sake of about $10 a year, I would recommend having this hosted by a reputable company. Webcity can also help you out with this.

 

Setting your name servers under your domains registration can take up to 48 hours to propegate world wide. You will have to be patient if you need to change name servers.

 

The domain hosting information, commenly referred to as the domain zone file, contains information which tells the computer looking up the domain name, what to do.

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